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Holiday motorists face fuel price hikes in Europe

Press release   •   Jun 03, 2017 00:01 BST

Fuel prices have risen by up to 40 per cent for unleaded petrol and 51 per cent for diesel in Europe over the past 12 months, according to research by Post Office Travel Money.However, with one-in-eight holidaymakers planning a motoring trip1 and many more hiring a car while abroad, the 11th annual Motoring on the Continent Report reveals that drivers will still find unleaded petrol for under £1 in Andorra and Austria.Spain and Luxembourg join these two countries in offering diesel at below the £1 mark2.

For the sixth year running the cheapest fuel will be found in Andorra.Unleaded petrol costs just 95p a litre for unleaded petrol and, even less, 81p, for diesel.This is around 40 per cent less than in Norway, the most expensive place to drive, according to the survey of fuel costs in 20 European countries including the UK. Austria, one of the most popular touring destinations, is second cheapest for unleaded petrol at 98p, while diesel costs 90p a litre.

Although the cost of unleaded petrol has risen to £1.02 in Luxembourg, 15p more than a year ago, and to £1.06 in Spain, up 13p on June 2016 levels, pump prices for diesel remain below £1 in both countries.In Luxembourg, second cheapest in the survey, a litre of diesel costs 86p.In Spain, the second most popular destination for UK holiday motorists, it costs 97p.

Post Office Travel Money found that the increase in crude oil costs, which has resulted in higher pump prices in the UK than a year ago, has been compounded across Europe by the fall in sterling’s value since last June.This means that while fuel costs have risen eight per cent over the past 12 months in the UK, the European increases have been much higher.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said:“With this year’s fuel price increases, it will pay to plan where to fill up the tank.If you are driving car to France, Belgium or Ireland in a petrol car it will make sense to fill up in the UK as pump prices are lower than in these countries. The reverse is true if you are travelling in a diesel car.It will be better to wait till you reach foreign soil before detouring to the nearest supermarket because pump prices are lower than on main roads.”

The biggest increase at the pumps has been in Greece where a litre of unleaded petrol has surged from £1.04 last year to £1.46, a rise of 42p.Although the cost of diesel is far lower at £1.16 a litre, this represents a 39p – or 51 per cent - increase from 77p a year ago to £1.16.

Andrew Brown said: “Holidaymakers taking their cars to Europe or hiring one in their destination can expect to pay between 13-21 per cent extra for unleaded petrol than a year ago and even more than that – 18-26 per cent – for diesel in most countries this year.The fuel price increases mean UK holidaymakers driving in Europe will be well advised to plan their routes carefully in advance to cut costs.

“By doing their homework before setting out, motorists driving through eastern France can save 18p a litre on unleaded petrol or 26p on diesel by detouring into Luxembourg. Similarly motorists can save up to 26p a litre by crossing from Switzerland into Austria.”

When the Post Office examined the cost of diesel fuel, it found that pump prices for diesel remain lower than for unleaded petrol in 18 of the 20 countries surveyed.The only exceptions are Switzerland, where diesel costs 3p more a litre, and the UK, where it is 1p more expensive.However, the diesel price rises were found to be greater than for unleaded petrol in half the countries, narrowing the gap between the cost of the two fuels.

The biggest gap between unleaded petrol and diesel is in the Netherlands where motorists will pay 32p less for diesel.UK tourists hiring a car in Greece will be well advised to make it one that uses diesel fuel as this will cost them 30p less a litre than for unleaded petrol.

Country Petrol per litreDiesel per litreAmount less/more for diesel

Falls over five years:

Fuel costs may have increased in the past 12 months but when the Post Office compared today’s rates for both unleaded petrol and diesel with those in 2012, it found that prices have plummeted since then.

Andrew Brown said: “It’s always good to put the prices we are paying now for commodities into context.In the case of fuel, the cost of crude oil has fallen significantly since 2012 so motorists are paying up to 20 per cent less for unleaded petrol now than five years ago and as much as 23 per cent less for diesel.In Europe the biggest falls of 29p a litre for unleaded petrol and 27p for diesel are in France, the country where the greatest numbers of UK holiday motorists are likely to drive3.”

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euros on demand at over 10,000 branches. Euros can also be ordered online at for same day ‘click and collect’ at almost 3,000 branches or for home delivery/next day collection at any Post Office branch.The other currencies that feature in the Motoring on the Continent report are among 30 leading ones available over the counter at 1,600 larger Post Office Branches.A total of up to 80 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery.


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